Horse Racing News – 21 November 2017

Nigel Does It In November Again And Faugheens Return Goes Like A Dream

Ginge Makes Splash In BetVictor Mud

Saturday’s feature contest came at Cheltenham with the 2017 edition of the BetVictor Gold Cup. One of the first real headline events of the year is invariably a cracking contest and once again proved to be a real thriller. Nigel Twiston-Davies is a man to be feared at this meeting and in this contest in particular.

Of his two runners, it was Foxtail Hill who was expected to go close, with Splash Of Ginge amongst the rank outsiders in the early markets. With a late deluge turning the ground soft though, things began to turn in the nine year olds favour. Already a dual Grade 3 winner on soft and heavy ground, he showed his liking for such conditions once again to deny David Pipe’s Starchitect by a neck, and land Twiston-Davies a fourth success in the race.

Greatwood Goes To Elgin Marvel

Whilst the chasers took centre stage on the Saturday card at Cheltenhem, it was the hurdlers who provided the headline act in Sunday’s feature of the Greatwood Hurdle. In a fascinating clash between the highly touted up and comers such as Jenkins, and those who have been there and got the t-shirt like The New One and Old Guard, it was one of the new kids on the block who landed the spoils.

It was a late decision by Alan King to send Elgin in pursuit of this prize, with the five year old having come home in front at Ascot just 15 days ago. It certainly proved to be a wise choice though, as given an expertly judged ride around the outside by Wayne Hutchinson, he held on for a narrow victory from Misteron.

The Machine Back Up In Running But Walsh Breaks Down

As excellent as the action was at Cheltenham over the weekend, the highlight for many racing fans came over at Punchestown on Sunday. Not sighted at the racetrack since landing the Irish Champion Hurdle nearly two years ago, the horse known simply as “The Machine” made his return to action as the mighty Faugheen lined up for the Morgiana Hurdle. Could he possibly be as good as he was after so long on the side-lines? Is he a legitimate threat to reclaim his Champion Hurdle crown?

Judged on this effort, we would be inclined to answer in the affirmative to both of the above questions. A back to form Jezki and the highly touted Campeador were simply swatted aside as the Rich Ricci trained nine year old didn’t see another rival in recording a 16 length success. It was hard not to be impressed with this authoritative success, amongst the admirers as they cut Faugheen from 5/1 to 9/4 favourite for the Champion Hurdle.

Faugheen certainly came out of the weekend in better shape than his regular pilot Ruby Walsh, with the Irishman breaking his leg in a fall aboard Let’s Dance at Punchestown on Saturday. The early prognosis appears good for Walsh though and he is certainly expected to be back in plenty of time to be reunited with Faugheen for the Champion Hurdle.

John To Try Betfair Chase On For Size

Looking ahead to the coming weekend we have a real treat in store as the defending Gold Cup Champion Sizing John makes his eagerly awaited return to the track in the Betfair Chase. Together with the King George and the Cheltenham Gold Cup this race makes up the £1 million challenge.

Can Sizing John win them all and bag the bonus? With Bristol De Mai, Cue Card and Outlander amongst the opposition, he wont have things all his own way this weekend in what looks set to be a cracker.